The midterm elections had me STRESSED this week. Highlights: Generational Anxiety, Keke Palmer, notes from a stripper, Love is Blind, Baby O, midterms, #freebg, and Ash finally wins it all.
I am so excited for this show! Hosted and created by Bianca Vivion, Generational Anxiety brings together “legendary and emerging artists for lively and provocative discussions on the changing state of art, culture and society.” Inspired by the legendary 1971 conversation between James Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni, it is only fitting that the first episode features Giovanni and Doreen St. Felix talking about the state of love and intimacy in the digital age.
I unabashedly love Keke Palmer. She is obviously in the middle of a *moment* but my love goes back to Barbershop 2. Clips from Palmer’s episode of Whoreible Decisions, hosted by Mandii B and Weezy, have been circulating online all week. This super fun and funny conversation delves into “a bunch of different sx terms to see how freaky [Keke] really is” and “get[s] the details on her sexual orientation, favorite porn, and how to approach her!”
3. n + 1: Baby
I have to admit, I didn’t see the “fiction and drama” tag at the start of this story, and it took me a few reads to figure out what, exactly, I was experiencing. From the first sentence of Brittany Newell’s story, I was captured by its protagonist Daisy, who uses the stripper name Baby. Throughout the piece, Baby talks about forays into stripping, focusing on her first few months in the industry and a patron named Simon. Through Baby, Newell explores different forms of love and intimacy, and how “Sometimes shit feels so good we can’t bear it.”
I have ravenously watched the most recent season of Netflix’s Love is Blind, following along on Twitter as well. This season was by no means my favorite—I didn’t find any of the couples particularly engaging—and yet, it might be the season that has given me the most to think about.
In the series, people date, couple, and become engaged, sight unseen. It is only after a couple becomes engaged that they are allowed to finally see each other. After a brief “honeymoon,” and a few weeks of dating in the real world, couples have a Netflix-sponsored wedding, and hopefully marry. I use “hopefully” lightly because, as this season proved, some couples probably shouldn’t follow through on the proposition. As Estelle Tang writes, the first season of the series “could at least position itself as wide-eyed and fairy-tale-minded. Its concept relies on the idea that people make poor romantic decisions based on shallow factors, swiping right on attractive features, fatless bodies, and human musk.” But in this season, “Love Is Blind has devolved into an even crueler version of itself,” and “contestants’ incompatibility festers under the show’s unflinching gaze, which reveals just how unprepared its cast is for matrimony or even relationships.”
One couple, Cole and Zanab, are seemingly impossibly mismatched: “He is not initially as attracted to her as he is to another contestant, Colleen. They move in together, but she has never lived with a partner, and his clutter seems to physically hurt her. He throws used towels wherever; when she first sees his home, flies are hovering around the toilet. They argue a lot.” Cole consistently says a lot of dumb and thoughtless things, and Zanab is consistently critical and contemptuous of him. Many people also have concerns for Colleen, the other contestant Cole is attracted to, as her husband, Matt, appears to have controlling and abusive behavior.
The show did have an interesting and important abortion storyline this season, where the couple of Nancy and Bartise discuss their opinions on the procedure (Nancy is pro-choice if not pro-abortion, and Bartise thinks it is only okay if a pregnancy is “unplanned and you’re, like, youthful and still learning,” and you only get “one pass”). What I found widely unaddressed across the series and its coverage is that no one seemed to talk about the contestant Alexa, whose family identifies as “more Israeli than Jewish.” Alexa also implies that shakshuka is Israeli, despite the dish having origins in 16th-century North Africa. Additionally, I’m uncomfortable with how Alexa aligns herself with Black women and uses AAVE in certain situations. There is a lot going on there that was completely untouched.
5. Democracy Now!: The Story of Baby O: Rebecca Nagle on the Supreme Court Case That Could Gut Native Sovereignty
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments “in Haaland v. Brackeen, a case challenging the Indian Child Welfare Act and ultimately threatening the legal foundations of federal Indian law.” Created in 1978, the ICWA “address[es] the systemic crisis of family separation in Native communities waged by the U.S. and requires the government to ensure foster children are adopted by members of their Indigenous tribes, as well as blood relatives, before being adopted by non-Indigenous parents.” Cherokee writer and activist Rebecca Nagle has been covering the case for years, and talks to Democracy Now! about the history of the law, and the potential “seismic implications for other laws governing the rights of Indigenous nations in this country” if ICWA is struck down.
Twitter has digressed into an absolute mess since Musk acquired the company late last month. Every day something new comes out about people leaving, mass layoffs, verification, and basically everything. This week, Twitter’s “chief privacy officer Damien Kieran, chief information security officer Lea Kissner, and chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty have all resigned.” All of these people helped oversee the company’s compliance with the FTC’s consent order “after the company was caught using personal user info to target ads. If Twitter doesn’t comply with that agreement, the FTC can issue fines reaching into the billions of dollars, according to the lawyer’s note to employees.” Now, “Musk’s new legal department is now asking engineers to ‘self-certify’ compliance with FTC rules and other privacy laws, according to the lawyer’s note and another employee familiar with the matter” and fully seems to disregard the security of user’s accounts. A whole MESS.
I stayed up wayyyy too late watching the midterm results! Democrats did okay in some areas and poorly in others, making key mistakes like not giving enough support to North Carolina. In this episode of Start Making Sense, D.D. Guttenplan, Elie Mystal, Joan Walsh, John Nichols, and Chris Lehmann discuss Tuesday’s results, what Democrats could have done better, and what everything means going forward.
I’m registered to vote in Michigan, a state I often describe as deep burgundy. On Tuesday, residents of Michigan enshrined reproductive rights into the state constitution. Michigan was one of five states—including Kentucky, Vermont, Montana, and California—that had a measure relating to reproductive freedom on their ballots. In all of the measures, abortion advocates were victorious, even in notoriously Republican states. While every state has different voting and regulatory procedures, organizers “were often able to draw even more support than the Democratic candidates, garnering votes from individuals who otherwise cast ballots for Republicans, libertarians, or no candidate at all,” based on vote tallies. A lot of hard work went into Tuesday’s victories.
WNBA player Brittney Griner is being transferred to a Russian penal colony to serve her nine-year sentence for allegedly smuggling hash oil into the country. While we do know she is being transferred, “her lawyers don’t know where she is or where she’s heading,” as of an announcement on Wednesday. It could take up to two weeks to receive official notification.
The US Government has been in negotiations with Russia to release Griner, and “officials have said they hoped Russia would be more inclined to negotiate in good faith once the Tuesday midterm elections were over, knowing that Vladimir Putin’s government would not want to give President Joe Biden a potential political victory.” Now that the election is over, hopefully some progress can be made.
He did it! I’ve been watching (on and off) Ash Ketchum since before I can remember. After over 25 years of trying to be the very best, Ash finally achieved his goal! In the most recent episode of Pokemon: Ultimate Journeys Ash won the World Championship, beating the former champion, Leon. We have been waiting for this moment since 1997! Congratulations, Ash!